Should our Bible have even more books?


From what I have read the Catholic Old Testament derives from the Greek Septuagint compiled by Greek speaking Jews in Alexandria in the first century. I understand Catholic Bibles have seven additional books and additions to Esther and Daniel(Prayer of Azariah and the song of the three Jews in between 3.23 and 3.24 and also appendixes of Susanna ch 13 and Bel and the Dragon ch 14) that are not included in the Hebrew Bible which we call Deuterocanonical books. 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, Judith, Tobit, and Baruch including the Letter of Jeremiah as chapter 6.My question comes from the nearly unknown fact that Orthodox Bibles generally include all of the books from the Septuagint. 1 Esdras which is 3 Esdras in the appendix to the Latin Vulgate along with The Prayer of Manasseh and 3 Maccabees and Psalm 151 are canon in the Eastern Orthodox traditions. 2 Esdras also known as 4 Esdras in the appendix to the Latin Vulgate is canon in the Slavonic Bibles thus regarded as canon to Russian Orthodox (In the Latin Vulgate Ezra-Nehemiah are 1 and 2 Esdras). Also 4 Maccabees is placed as an appendix to Greek Bibles. So my question is why do Catholic Bibles not contain these books? A growing number of study Bibles which contain the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical books such as the NRSV and the CEB contain these extra books which even our Bibles don’t contain. This lead me to wonder why if our bible comes from the same source are they omitted and also does the Catholic church have any problem with us reading books which are accepted by Eastern Orthodox Christianity?


Good question, I’ve wondered about this for some time.



Perhaps this will help to clarify the original question.

I picked up a copy of this book, the Orthodox Study Bible

and, to the heart of the question: The Orthodox recognize only the first six ecumenical councils of the Church. Apparently the canonicity of the books of the Bible was not established in those councils which they recognize, so,*** the result is there is no official list of canonized books in the Orthodox Bible.*** This particular publication simply says that the books contained in it are there as a matter of following tradition.

So, the variance in the Bibles may have a lot do with that perspective.

If I were to buy a copy of the orthodox bible again , I might consider the Septuagint/Orthodox Bible published by Oxford University Press as an alternative to the one I purchased, cited above.


The Orthodox Study Bible that I referred to in the previous post is, my opinion, predominantly oriented towards devotional use, and less for academic edification. That’s why I would suggest any interested party to check out the Oxford version.


No because the Church finalized the list and made it canon therefore it is complete. You are free to read other books of that time period but there need be no other additions.


I just wanted to mention that the Orthodox recognize the first seven ecumenical councils (some might say eight or even nine, but seven for sure by the Catholic view). For more info, please read here:


It is my understanding that you are welcome to read the other books. From what I’ve seen, some Eastern Catholics actually use the Orthodox Study Bible for their edification and prayer life. Also, the Ethiopic Orthodox Bible has even more books. Click here to read about that: You could read them as well, since it has been said that the Catholic counterpart to that Orthodox Church (Ethiopian Catholic Church) has those books included (although, that has been debated). Just my thoughts…


This book may help:



where does this question come from? is it a result of not accepting the authority of the successors to the apostles?

does the questioner actually believe that the successors to the apostles have less knowledge than secular and non-RC people?

the compilation of the canon of sacred scripture is not an example of a simple question for an internet forum.

if the questioner wants to inform him/herself on the RC teachings on the make-up of the canon of sacred scripture, there are literally hundreds of books from RC authors that he/she could read to become more knowledgeable about the subject.

an internet forum, open to all opinions, from faithful RCs to protestants, to muslims, to atheists is hardly the best place to have questions based on lack of knowledge about a highly complex issue, that have been deeply studied by RC theologians,answered.

if the intent is to create a realm of misinformation on the subject, this question should do it.

i place my faith in the Holy Spirit who indwells in the RCC.

if people need a starting point in gaining knowledge on this subject, they could start here:


For some reason, that book is currently a billion dollars on Amazon.

You can get an autographed version through Catholic Productions, an apostolate that has close ties with the book’s author:


I agree with your general thesis, that this forum is not the place to ask for personal advice. And, as far as I wrote two previous posts, I carefully indicated the source of my information – not a habit that many participants on this website have, preferring to remain vague or ambiguous. We do run into the reasonable obstacle that copyrighted material should not be reproduced here, in general.

Most if not all of the previous posts refer the OP to a recognized or at least published sources of information.

In regard to this general question (the OP), I think it is interesting that the official list of books in the canon was not published or finalized until the Council of Trent, which was intended to be an ecumenical council but was poorly attended – no kidding, it lasted something like 16 years. Although the list of approved texts was identified early on, it was necessary to repeat that list over and over, apparently.


The reason I have issues with this is because the canon as we know it didn’t come into being until the Council of Trent which was sort of a counter reformation council to once and for all say what was scripture and what was not. Even Jerome when translating the Vulgate from the Septuagint put the texts which weren’t present in the Hebrew Bible in a separate section and questioned their status. Some actually believe the reason 3 and 4 Maccabees and Psalm 151 were not included was simply because Jerome received a copy of the Septuagint that was missing them. However until the Council, 1 and 2 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh were also in the Vulgate and remain in the appendix on official Latin Vulgate translations. So the council actually did reject those three books however accepted the others as canon. It just makes me wonder how this came to be. I actually find 2 Esdras or the apocalypse of Ezra as it’s also known as fascinating book.


The Council of Trent defined the Canon of the Bible here. This Canon was reaffirmed by the First Vatican Council and it was the same Canon given by the Council of Florence (1442). The Council of Trent was reiterating the Canon of the Bible formed at the Synod of Rome (382), the Council of Hippo (393), the Council of Carthage (397), a letter from Pope Innocent I (405), and the Second Council of Carthage (419). The Canon of the Bible was defined long before the Council of Trent, but the Council of Trent had to infallibly define & list the books of the Catholic Canon because it was called into question during the Protestant Revolt. No books can be added or subtracted from the Canon given by Trent. It doesn’t matter what the Orthodox think, the Catholic Church has already infallibly defined what Scriptures form the Canon of the Bible.


ConfiteorDeo is right; the canon of Scripture was closed long before Trent. Infallible definitions only happen when something is challenged. Gary Michuta gives a great treatment on this, and I’d type it up from my own copy, but the passage is too long. I think you would really like getting his two books, which I just finished devouring a couple weeks ago. He answers all your questions, including why true apocryphal books such as 3 and 4 Macabees were not included as Scripture.

Someone mentioned before that “Why Catholic Bibles Are Bigger?” is insanely expensive on Amazon. There’s a new printing, regularly priced under $20, and I just got my copy from Catholic Answers not even 2 months ago:

You should also read his follow up book, “The Case for the Deuterocanon”:

For more great info on the canon of Scripture, I suggest you read the works of seminarian Joe Heschmeyer. He has a wealth of information at his website:


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